The 4th Down Decision: Fantasy impact of rookie QBs

Written by Zach Lyons, co-host of Football & Other F Words and The Flex, “The 4th Down Decision” will look at various fantasy topics from whether you should “Punt” or “Go For It”. When reading the advice please keep these league settings in mind: 12-team league, PPR, 6-pt. passing TDs. All ADPs based on‘s web site.

Rookie Quarterbacks. They’re a fantasy football player’s nightmare. They can come in and destroy the status quo of a position group, or they can be complete busts after you spent a high draft pick on them. 

Don’t worry though. We can cut through the mess that is the 2020 rookie draft class. 

Special Note: Due to COVID-19 every rookie will face more difficulty than usual in getting up to NFL speed. That’s true for all these guys and should be baked into your expectations.

Go For It: Joe Burrow (in double digit rounds)

  • Current ADP: 146 (12th Round)
  • Current Position Ranking: QB17

What. A. Steal. Joe Burrow, in my opinion, is the most polished QB to come out of college since Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck in his rookie year ended the season with 322.46 pts. I think Joe Burrow can easily sniff that. He is loaded with offensive talent from a fantasy standpoint. Let’s compare him the weapons he has to what Luck had:

Andrew LuckJoe Burrow
RBsDonald Brown, Mewelde Moore, Vick BallardJoe Mixon, Gio Bernard
WRsT.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Donnie AveryA.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross
TEsCoby Fleener, Dwayne AllenC.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample
Editor’s random thought: I was actually thinking about Austin Collie the other day.

TEs really don’t matter, but where it counts with RBs and WRs, Joe has the better RBs, and probably the better WRs. Not to mention he has an offensive system designed by Zac Taylor that will benefit him as a rookie passer. 

Joe (Mixon) and Gio are very underrated as pass catching running backs, and as a whole, I am very bullish on this Bengals team from a fantasy standpoint. Not to mention Joe (Burrow) faces the 7th-best schedule for fantasy QBs when it comes to pass defense. 

I am a big believer in 1-QB leagues that, unless it’s Mahomes, Lamar, or even Wilson, you should wait to draft a QB until the double-digit rounds, and if the trend continues, I will jump at the chance to draft Joe Burrow in the 13th Round and feel confident in his ability to be a weekly QB1. 

Punt: Drafting Tua Tagovailoa

  • Current ADP: 229 (20th Round/Undrafted)
  • Current Position Ranking: QB27

Just do not do this. He faces the hardest schedule for a passer. He is in the same QB room as Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is fantasy kryptonite for any young QB, and let’s not forget his injury history. 

He also doesn’t have the benefit of having Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle, and Devonta Smith on the Dolphins roster, and not to mention the offensive line Alabama had. 

Right now, these QBs are being drafted immediately before or after Tua: Sam Darnold, Drew Lock, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Gardner Minshew, and Justin Herbert. Outside of Lock, Minshew, and maaaaaaybe Herbert, I would rather just stream QBs week to week instead of relying on any of these guys as an every-week option.

If you’re in a dynasty league, I would take Tua, of course, because he can ride your bench. However, I’d punt on 2020, because it is not the year to draft Tua as a QB1 or even a QB2.

Go Into Overtime: Justin Herbert

  • Current ADP: Undrafted
  • Current Position Ranking: QB33

I go back and forth on Justin Herbert as a viable fantasy QB in 2020. The Chargers have have a high quality starting set of weapons. Tyrod Taylor is soooooo boring, and they have Austin Ekeler who can do it all. On top of that, they have the 5th-easiest schedule overall according to

So why can’t I decide? 

For every good thing, there is a “however” thing. 

The GoodHowever…
Good WeaponsMike Williams has drop issues, Hunter Henry cannot stay healthy, lack of depth at every position*.
Boring TyrodSafe with the football, knows Anthony Lynn’s system very well, and Lynn wants a safe passer.
Austin Ekeler can do it allEkeler’s first season as a feature back, potential to wear down with a bigger workload, lack of depth behind him
5th-Easiest ScheduleMore running, less passing, could allow Tyrod start for a while longer, less chance for garbage time stats
*The Chargers are one injury away from Darius Jennings seeing significant snaps at WR

Just hope your fantasy draft is around what would normally be the 3rd Preseason Week (which it should always be) so we have a clearer picture of who starts. If Herbert gets the job, I’d draft him. If he’s the back up, I’d be eyeing the waiver wire around Week 4 to see if I can make room for him.

Love my opinions? Hate my opinions? Leave comments below, and let’s discuss!

Author: Zach LyonsWith over 17 years experience of losing Fantasy Football games, Zach has been a Titans fan since moving to Nashville in 2002. A die-hard Alabama fan, but he doesn't let that cloud his judgement of the Elite Players they have put in the NFL. Players like Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and AJ McCarron. You've heard him on Football & Other F Words giving his Unfiltered Opinions as facts and that won't change. He's always 100% right even if he has to revise earlier statements. Lawyered.

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